On Beaches

ON BEACHES

by Eric Chaet

I’ve stood on beaches of sand & beaches of stone
&, barefoot, paced the shallow surf
looked across vast quiet & vast tumultuous surfaces
considering depths, pressures, currents, species, larvae & mature
& distant lands—struggles for survival & power—I’d never know.

I’ve stood awed at the limits of my capacities
peering back into my own past & into history
before today’s particular circumstances—
celebrities & unknowns, audacious, timid, scrupulous, not
articulate, silent, or silenced by ridicule, force, or threat
weapons & money, rich & poor
migrations, wars, taxes, prisons, executions
machinery, buildings, vehicles, tools—the geared economy
punishing whoever dares to appear different
assets & liabilities, creditors & debtors, investors & employees
born into wealth, poverty, relative ignorance, or insight
wild & domestic plants & animals
storms, grudging drudgery, births & deaths
thrilling triumphs, disappointments, sudden steep anxieties
love & sex, infants, schools, rebellions
memories, games, melodies, rhythms, rhymes
accidents, illnesses, plans, superstitions
dogmas, advertising, widely held or eccentric beliefs
some crazy, some wise but shunned
some tenuous as a flame cupped against the wind
some raging & fiercely affirmed again & again
however harmonious with or antagonistic to
what others are doing or the nature of the world
in which Earth is as one of the drifting plankton—
& back before history, & before humanity
& before spinning, orbiting Earth & its migrant Sun.

I stand trying to imagine 
a future for myself & others
different & better than what prevails now—
& how I might contribute to that turning of the tide.

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Picture: NASA

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surveillance & purpose series

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